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As the COVID-19 pandemic goes on, the workers’ compensation industry is still continuing to manage changing claim patterns and trends. As regulations and case rates continue to shift, Mitchell has analyzed its workers’ compensation claims data to identify how claim trends have changed over the past year and a half.  This report includes claim data through June 30, 2021.

From January through June 2021, the finance and insurance, transportation and warehousing and healthcare and social assistance industries reported significantly more workers’ compensation claims than in the first half of 2019.

On the other hand, Mitchell’s data reveals that some industries have not seen prepandemic claim volumes return. The arts, entertainment, and recreation, educational services, and accommodation and food services industries are all still reporting significantly fewer workers’ compensation COVID-19 claims. Though claim volumes are still down, all three of these industries are experiencing an increase in claims compared to 2020 volumes, but are subject to pandemic-related regulations and trends that may explain the lower volume of claims.

About a quarter of workers’ compensation COVID-19 claims include only indemnity costs (no medical costs) – and those costs have declined over time. In January 2021, Mitchell reported that the average indemnity cost (lost wages etc.), for a COVID-19 claim was $2,400 in 2020; now, that number has decreased by almost half to $1380.

On the other hand, average medical costs associated with COVID-19 claims have remained somewhat steady, with just a slight 5% increase since Mitchell’s last report.

According to NCCI, the makeup of claim types is a clear reversal when compared to historical workers’ compensation claim data – prior to the pandemic, about 75% of all workers’ compensation claims were medical-only. NCCI published similar findings to Mitchell’s data, reporting that 75% of COVID-19 claims were lost-time claims.

It comes as no surprise that the healthcare and social assistance industry sector is still the source of the majority of COVID-19-related workers’ compensation claims, accounting for 49% of the total. Similar to Mitchell’s previous reporting, the healthcare industry is still accounting for almost five times more COVID-19-related claims than the next largest source, public administration, which makes up about 10% of all COVID-19 claims.